In mindfulness, we practice focusing in the present moment in order to train our mind to be calm and aware. Studies have shown that when we’re focusing in the present, we’re less stressed and emotionally reactive and we experience more positive emotions and connect more deeply with other people.
To connect with the present moment, we can use ‘anchors’ to keep our focus. Anchors exist only in the present moment and you can use them when you need to let go of stress, calm down when you’ve been emotionally triggered, and to be 100% present with your loved ones.
Here are 10 anchors that you can use to reconnect to the present moment:
- Count your inhalations and exhalations – inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4 and so on
- Place your hands on your belly and breathe deeply, focusing on making your hands rise and fall with each breath
- Notice the sensation of your breath as it moves through your nostrils as you breathe for 5 slow breaths
- Mentally name 5 colours present in your environment
- Rest all of your focus on an object like a candle or flower
- Feel the weight of your body on the chair
- Notice the sensation of your clothing on your body
- Pay attention to any sounds that you can hear in your environment
- Take your shoes off and notice the texture of the floor under your feet
- Mindfully eat something, giving all your focus to experiencing the taste, aroma and texture of the food
Don’t worry if your mind wanders away with your thoughts and you forget to focus on your anchor – as soon as you notice you’ve drifted, simply bring your attention back. By doing this you’re changing the hardwiring of your brain and strengthening your ability to be focused in the present moment.
If you’re new to mindfulness or meditation, try out a few different anchors to see what works best for you and dedicate a few minutes to focusing on that anchor each day.
By Amelia Harvey
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